Adding RAINBOW FLAG to Unicode

Philippe Verdy verdy_p at
Sat Jun 27 17:15:13 CDT 2015

Me too. Not becuse the semantic of the flag is not lost but because here
the relation with the rainbow is much less evident, as the flag does not
mean the meteorological object or the internaction of solar light with the
atomosphere, but only a few of its colors ordered not just like what
happens in a rainbow but also in an optical prism, but here the rainbow is
disposed in clearly contrasting bands (sothrign that never happens in true

We are too far from the ligature, as we don't see that as a flag *and* a
rainbow; the subject is in fact unbreakable

If it had to be broken we would also need to add the semantics for the
horizontal contrasting stripes (completely missing in the rainbow symbol),
and something to rmean that we don't wan't to include the arch form, or any
sun ray, or cloud possibly raining, or the earth ground that the rainbow is

In fact the form of the rainbox is not the form of the Earth, but the
intersection of a cone centered on the observer eye which is near the
ground because the direct sunlight behind you is almost parallel and
focused at infinite distance: the rainbow is in fact a circle at a well
defined distance, but part of it is masked by the ground which is nearer
from the observer (and at this shorter observable distance, the angle of
light on the cone inserting there is not correct to see the rainbow light
effect); however a small part of the arc falls in front of the ground on
the horizon, if your horizon is far enough (only the bottom part of the
cicle is masked).

If you observe the rainbow directly from the ground level, you'll see only
an half-circle, but if you climb a few meters up on a high scale, you can
see the full circle with the correct opening angle in the air, provided
that the sun is not too high in the sky. You cannot observe any rainbow
when the sun is at the zenith because the circle of the rainbow is fully
below the ground level, so the best and largest rainbows are observed in
early morning or late evenings.

2015-06-27 23:28 GMT+02:00 Noah Slater <nslater at>:

> I think it's a bit of a stretch to propose that a rainbow flag is a "white
> flag" and "rainbow" ligature. That's certainly well beyond any
> understanding I have of what a ligature is, from a typographical
> perspective.
> On Sat, 27 Jun 2015 at 22:23 Pierpaolo Bernardi <olopierpa at>
> wrote:
>> On Sat, Jun 27, 2015 at 10:14 PM, Philippe Verdy <verdy_p at>
>> wrote:
>>> Why would associating a flag and a rainbow this way means the flag will
>>> just be recolored (but the rainbox form itself is completely lost)?
>>> Couldn't this be to display a flying flag over a sky with a rainbow?
>>> Compare this to the association of the sun and the rainbow symbols, or the
>>> cloud and a rainbow (and compare to the sun or moon and a cloud associated
>>> the same way, or the association of two clouds: none of them will overlap
>>> completely).
>>> Imagine the use in a weather application, I don't wee why the rainbox
>>> would disappear when the flying flag is just there to mean the windy
>>> condition, and the rainbox meant for variable weather mixing rainy and
>>> sunny periods.
>>> Your proposed use of ZWJ to create a complete overlap of one symbol into
>>> another is unexpected.
>> A ZWJ does not cause two random characters to overlap. It creates a
>> ligature, and the ligature can be rendered in any way the font designers
>> prefer.  If there's a need for this character, font designers could agree
>> to render this ligature in the desired way.
>> In case there's the need, the Unicode Consortium could hint at the
>> intended meaning of this ligature, I think?
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